Portugal Drop 10 Euro 2016 Winners in Squad for 2018 World Cup

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Euro 2016 final-winner Eder is left out of the squad alongside other notable names such as Nani, Renato Sanches and Andre Gomes.

Nearly half of Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 squad will miss the 2018 World Cup after coach Fernando Santos made what he said were difficult choices in naming his final 23 for Russia on Thursday.

Centre forward Eder, who scored the winning goal in the Euro 2016 final against France, was among 10 players from that squad omitted from Santos’s list.

Other unlucky players included midfielders Andre Gomes and Renato Sanches, forward Nani and defender Eliseu.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer and most-capped player, headed the list for the European champions, who face Spain, Morocco and Iran in a tricky group.

Other stalwarts included goalkeeper Rui Patricio, central defenders Pepe (35) and Bruno Alves (36), midfielders William Carvalho and Joao Moutinho and flamboyant forward Ricardo Quaresma.

Russian-based midfielder Manuel Fernandes, who is 32 and has won 12 caps, was one of those to be included alongside Napoli left-back Mario Rui.

Former Saints and Hammers center-back Jose Fonte, who now plays for Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, is included, but Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is not in the 23-man squad, despite starting the 2-1 friendly win over Egypt in March.

“It hurts not to be able to include all the players who were with us in the European Championship,” said Santos.

“They have all contributed to writing a brilliant chapter in the history of Portuguese football, but I had to make choices that for me make a better puzzle.”

Portugal are in Group B alongside Spain, Morocco and Iran.

Portugal squad:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)

Portugal head into the World Cup as defending European Championship winners. They open their summer venture against Spain on 15th June.

Can Ronaldo lead Portugal to another major international title? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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